Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Magic!

by Deborah

I think he is taking his eye exam.

My four year old daughter is very bright.  She asks me questions every day to which I do not know the answer.  Our conversations go something like this....

"Mommy, red ants bite, right?  But black ants don't, right?" 
"Right," I reassure her.
"Then how do black ants protect themselves?"

"Mommy, what do moths eat?"

"Mommy, what makes the wind?"

Thank goodness, she is young enough to still think I am, as mother, all-knowing and omnipotent, and I am trying my best to keep that bluff in as long as I can.  Most of the time I answer something like, "That's a great question, let's talk about it later."  Then I google the crap out of it, and bring it up later, long after she's lost interest.

Inevitably, Christmas brings a lot of questions about Santa, and how he knows what to bring, and how he can tell if she's naughty or nice, and how he gets stuff to all the kids in the world, and if a child is poor and doesn't get a gift, does that mean they are naughty?  I don't find it any easier to answer these questions about made-up mythical stuff than I do scientific stuff, but it also isn't as easy to google an answer.

Santa knows, but he ain't telling
So, in the time-worn tradition of tired mothers everywhere, I tend to answer most Santa questions with the one word answer, "Magic!"  No matter what she asks, I just answer "Magic!"  The exclamation point is an important part of this answer.  If I convey sufficient enthusiasm, it seems to quell any further inquiry, even if she is just studying me to see if I'm actually crazy or not.

"Mommy, how does Santa know what toys I want?"

"Mommy, how does Santa get all the toys to everyone in the world in one night?"

"Mommy, how do the reindeer fly?"

"Mommy, why don't some children get to have Christmas gifts?"

Granted, it's not a logical response to every question, but it does stop the train of thought and it definitely seems to give her something to think about.

It works so well, that I think I am going to make it my go-to response for anything I don't want to answer the rest of the year.

"Mom, can I stay up and watch a movie?"

"Mommy, can I have another cookie?"

"Mommy, can you come wipe me?"

The best part is there really is no good response to the "Magic!"  It is hard to argue against, and somehow you know it is futile to keep asking the same question.  I think I may be onto something here.

It is a magical time of year.  Merry Christmas!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crazy Satellite

by Deborah

I'm convinced it's pointing straight at Texas
Every now and then my dog, who up until that moment has been acting fairly normal, just suddenly goes berserk.  Just becomes a crazed, possessed, demondog who must immediately race around the house at full speed, grabbing wildly at toys and shoes and furniture and children as she zooms by.  She goes so fast that her back end apparently gets going just a tad faster than her front end, so her back is all hunched up, like she just can't quite keep up with all that rear locomotion.  She does this maniacal behavior for about 15 minutes, and no amount of shouting, punishing, pleading, or redirection will dissuade her.  If you put her outside, she just continues this crazed top-speed running in circles around the yard, and adds in some barking to boot, and maybe grabs at low-hanging tree branches as she careens by.

Then, as suddenly as it began, it stops.  Just....over.  No more running, no crazy mischief grabbing, no barking.  Just done.

It is mystifying.

I have a theory, however.  I am pretty sure it is the Crazy Satellite.

See, I think there is a satellite up in space that periodically passes over our house and beams down a signal that says, "Everyone and everything should now go completely apesh*t."

And everyone and everything does.  For a brief period, until the satellite goes out of range, and then the signal fades and everything returns to normal.

Pets seem particularly susceptible to this signal, but children and people and inanimate objects are not immune, either.

Take for example, this 15 minute period from our lives not long ago.  Our day was hopping along swimmingly, and my husband and I decided to take our kids with us to the gym, where they could play in childcare while we worked out.  So we all get bundled up and are heading unsuspectingly out to the car, when all of a sudden, I now see in retrospect, the Crazy Satellite beamed down it's signal.

Within a 15 minute period, between the space of our back door and our car door, here is what happened:
  • a dog, fat and collared, trotted up into our driveway, clearly someone's lost pet
  • the girls, excited at the appearance of this strange dog, begin running around deliriously, and bang right into each other
  • both girls begin crying
  • it is a holiday weekend, many people are out of town, so I know we must capture this dog, keep him somewhere safe, and locate his owner
  • as my husband is attempting to catch this dog, my cell phone rings, and it is my husband's boss, asking if he can speak with my husband because he has a semi-urgent request
  • I strap the crying girls into their carseats, promising ice and bandaids, hand my cell phone to my husband, take the dog from his arms, muscle the stray dog inside, forcing my overexcited dog aside as I do
  • chaos with the two dogs, until I finally get them into separate rooms
  • I call the number on the dog's collar, trying to hear over the frantic yelps coming from my dog in the next room, and nervously making sure the new dog doesn't pee on anything; sure enough, the owners are out of town
One moment, we are walking to the car, happy and collected.  The next moment, as the Crazy Satellite passes over, we have a stray dog, two crying kids, a phone call, a work priority, and utter chaos.  THAT is the Crazy Satellite.

It all worked out fine.  Within a few minutes, the girls were calm, we had talked to the dog's owner and arranged pickup, the work stuff was sorted out and to be taken care of later, and we were able to be on our way to the gym.

But beware.  It's up there, circling overhead, ready to beam down its evil signal at any moment.  Be ready.  It's coming for you.

Satellitus Crazius

Monday, December 10, 2012

Creative and Sick and Mad

I've had my (stomping mad and partly sick) 6 year old son home for 4 days now. (He just slammed his bedroom door on me after I told him "No guns" for the 100th time. I've always had a no gun policy in my house.) It's been a looooong weekend.

But even in his sickness (his fever is only 99.3), he's been creative. An inventor, actually, even with his madness.

A "love shooter". Really.
(I'm ignoring the fact that he says this is a bomb detonator.)
Bullhorn -- I'm sure it's for shouting love.
Paw print monster.
He just threw a stuffed animal down the stairs.  "There's no way to flip it!", he shouted.  "Flip what?" asked my man. "My madness!" he shouted back.

Maybe he's one of those tortured creative types.

***What's next?***

Join us Tuesday, December 11, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. for ourmonthly crafting date.We'll explore visual journaling, make holiday cards, and as always, if you have your own craft or hobby, bring it. There will be festive refreshments, too! AND, we might, just might have special, hot-off-the-press stamps from Happy Los Angeles for sale! (Let's hope the mailman can find us on time!)

Suggested donation of $10 at the door, though if it's your first time, please be our guest.
Email for details: or at

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kelly Kilmer's Crafter's Crack

Evidence of an addict.
Kelly Kilmer's Grab Bags are like Crafter's Crack. I can't get enough of them. I'm totally addicted. For $50 (plus shipping), last week I got the best grab bag ever. I want to make them for my friends, but I'm sure they won't be nearly as good as hers. Besides, I hoard my stuff and I can't let anything go. 
But just so you know what crack in a plastic bag looks like, here's what I'm holding:
She stuffs it all in, I'm sure without weighing-- sticking extra washi tape on the outside!
Jammed full of uniquely colored and textured papers.
And these clear pages -- where does she find them!
I thought pens were just pens and stamps were just stamps. These are soooo gooooood.
Some stickers and doodads thrown in for good measure.
My worst addiction: stencils. I'm a goner.
All that's bad enough, but this Wednesday, December 5 at 7:00 p.m. PST, she's selling HANDMADE journals. (*cue Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" song...)
Don't miss out. They're gonna go fast!

***What's next?***

Join us Tuesday, December 11, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. for ourmonthly crafting date.We'll make holiday cards, explore visual journaling, and as always, if you have your own craft or hobby, bring it! There will be festive refreshments, too!

Suggested donation of $10 at the door, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
Email for details: or at

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Productive Procrastination

by Deborah

Time looks drunk.
When Emily and I started this company, we divided up the responsibilities rather naturally, without a great deal of discussion.  She did this, I did that.  One of the tasks I took on was filing our quarterly taxes.  Not something I relished, but a necessary business chore, and even if I found the tax labyrinth somewhat confusing at times, it overall was not all that terribly difficult if I could just sit down for an hour and focus.

Well, then I moved.  And the tax deadline came and went.  And it never once crossed my mind.  Not even a little bit.  Turns out, the tax people tend to not find that very endearing, so they sent a little reminder to Emily.  Which she then sent to me.


I slapped myself in the forehead a few times and promised her I would get it done on Thursday, before we would be hit with any penalties.

Today is Thursday.  Here are some things I have done today:
  • taken the dog to the dog park
  • taken the dog to the vet
  • called to try to change my address with an organization
  • written a thank you note
  • cut apart wallet sized pictures of my kids' school photos
  • written a note to my oldest daughter's preschool teacher from last year
  • talked to my mom
  • shopped for and bought 7 Christmas presents
  • went to a consultation about laser hair removal
  • checked the mail
  • filed all my receipts
  • called to make a doctor's appointment
  • cleaned out my address book
  • washed, dried, folded one load of my laundry
  • washed, dried, folded one load of the kids' laundry
  • went out to lunch
  • wrapped 3 Christmas presents
  • written this blog post

Things I have not done today:
  • taxes

I have at last discovered the key to my own productivity:  taxes.  More specifically, procrasinating on my taxes.  Some of those things above have been on my to-do list for months.  So, apparently the best motivation for tackling an ornery to-do list is have an even more ornery task that I want to avoid.

Not to worry, I will still get those taxes done -- although it will have to be after the girls are in bed tonight.  But I will get them done.  Just as soon as I make dinner and wash the dishes and.........


Monday, November 26, 2012

Do you know her? Heather Arndt is Happy!

     ~By Emily Cline
I have a friend named Heather Arndt. Do you know her? She lives in Los Angeles; used to manage and own this modern, eco-friendly, adorable home/gift/jewelry store called Happy in Los Feliz. Heather is a painter, crafter, ceramicist, yogi, wife, mom, and all-around-the-world *great* friend. She's always creating: right now she's starting What Did You Make Today? on Facebook. She's invited me to play too, and has deputized me to do the same for you. Join What Did You Make Today? and share what you make today and every day!

And while you're getting ready to share your makings, let me introduce you to Heather, by taking a little tour of the visual goodness around her Los Feliz home...
Everything Heather -- and her daughter does -- is creative!
Odds and ends, objects d'art, vintage brass.
Spirituality plays with whimsy.
Then we enter her studio...
Somehow, she creates order in her chaotic creative brain.
Plus a station for her 6 y.o. daughter, who also loves visual journaling.
Several inspiration boards-- this one clean and simple -- like her ceramics.
Shelves and shelves of goodies to drool over!
Odds and ends, arms and branches.
A testing station.
A few pieces stashed out of harm's way.
The World's Cutest Squirrel demands attention.
As you leave, you see ponies in the bathroom window...
...and a brass unicorn stands guard.
You can nab some of her goodies on Etsy:
Or meet her yourself at Renegade San Fransisco:
And in Los Angeles:

Tell her I sent you!

***What's next?***

Join us Tuesday, December 11, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. for our monthly crafting date.We'll make holiday cards, explore visual journaling, and as always, if you have your own craft or hobby, bring it! There will be festive refreshments, too!

Suggested donation of $10 at the door, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
Email for details: or at

Thursday, November 22, 2012


by Deborah

Nothing to say except thanks.
Thank you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

oh, Renegade, I love you.

     ~Emily Cline
Renegade Brooklyn Holiday Craft Fair 2012 ROCKED!

Passing through the gates by the Brooklyn waterfront last Saturday, I came upon massive graffiti chalk boards. This one stood with the NYC skyline in the background -- that's the Chrysler Building's tower poking up on the left!
Guestbook chalk boards provided by
Eager shoppers and interested crafters crowding the chilly isles.
My first stop was the Renegade Crew's welcome table, where I quickly snatched up stamps to make holiday cards. 
Then I went straight to the Yellow Owl Workshop table to try my hand at making my own wrapping paper. 
Ahem. Somebody was hogging all the stamp pads.
On down the isles full of jewelry, knitting, tee-shirts, art pieces, leather goods, pillows, clocks -- you name it -- all handmade or vintage.

Loved the look of this display -- easy, pretty, and vintage!
See more at:
At the end of the first long white tent were two tables hosting a free DIY for paint that works on glass, fabric, and porcelain.
Art for all ages!
The paints come in pens or bottles.
The mood at the Pebeo paint (available at Blicks) tables was exactly like our Gather and Giggle events: free play! I decided right then that I will not only be showing my art at the next Renegade Fair, I will also put up tables for Renegaders to experiment with our toys!

At the end of a long day, my feet hurt and my hands were cold. But I scored! My holiday shopping is half-way done! (*Spoiler alert -- there are some gifts nestled in the coming photos!)
Super cute bling bracelet from Lily Dawson Designs!
I swooned for this edgy jewelry from Mikinora -- hint, hint honey!
The black heart chalkboard tee from can be written on and erased as many times as you want!  It comes with chalk in a matchbox, which can be stored in the little label on the front. 
Loved the little baggies printed by Pamela Barsky and Awesome sticker!
Scrabble board letters made big for coasters? Yes, please!
They also make interesting prints and paper goods:
Shhh: this vintage heart necklace and monogrammed signet ring are gifts from D'Ament Jewelry.
My son received a similar print from his Grandpa last year. So we'll give this one to his girlfriend this year!
By Leroy's Place, New York, NY; or on his Etsy site.
My stash!
What holiday shopping is complete with out goodies for yourself? I mentioned the tent was cold: I bought the alpaca warmers on the left so I could feel my fingers again; from Knitting Peace. Sonia Gallardo's designs are made by incarcerated women in Boliva who are trying to provide for their children. The red with white chevron scarf is from Little Minnow Designs, a Texas designer I've followed on Etsy for a few years now. Sooo soft!

I have only mentioned a few of the amazing crafters I met in my day at Renegade. Everyone I met has that Do-Your-Thing-No-Matter-How-Silly-Weird-or-Little-It-May-Seem inspiring way about themselves. They shine a light in my life.
The votive I painted at Renegade Craft Fair, Brooklyn 2012.
***What's next?***

Join us Tuesday, December 11, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. for our monthly crafting date. We'll make holiday cards, explore visual journaling, and as always, if you have your own craft or hobby, bring it! There will be festive refreshments, too!

Suggested donation of $10 at the door, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
Email for details: or at